Richie McCormack
Richie McCormack

16.11 26 Jul 2021


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Mona McSharry wasn't born the last time an Irish swimmer reached an Olympic final.

The 20-year old bridged a 25-year gap on Monday morning in reaching the final of the 100m breaststroke in Tokyo.

The Sligo native's time of 1:06.59 saw her qualify eighth-fastest in the semi-finals.

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Not since Michelle Smith in Atlanta has an Irish swimmer been at the sharp end of Olympic competition.

"I'm over the moon", McSharry said after her race, "That was the target - make it round-by-round.

"When I got the semi-finals yesterday it was just the plan to compete and race and try and make it into a final.

"I knew it was going to be tough, I was in ninth already having moved up from my starting position so I knew it was going to be a push. Everyone's swimming fast, and it is really competitive but I'm just so happy to be able to get another opportunity to race tomorrow."

McSharry's promised herself an early night for her final, which takes place at 3.17am Irish time on Tuesday morning.

She also spoke of the camaraderie within the wider Team Ireland, which has helped her along in the absence of fans in Tokyo.

"It's been amazing," McSharry said, "Yesterday I was having lunch by myself and some other Irish person I didn't know - Philip [Doyle], a rower - I know him now, but he came over and sat beside me and the two of us just had lunch together. You know, that's really nice.

"You don't have your swimming teammates there. To be able to look around and see other Irish people and sit with them and chat... and I think that's the great thing about the Irish spirit as well, we are really close as a nation."

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Mona McSharry Olympic Games Olympics Swimming Team Ireland Tokyo 2020

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